From Heather Coleman, senior policy adviser at Oxfam America.
Earlier today, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in Copenhagen and announced in a speech that the US is willing to commit to a collective fund of $100 billion per year by 2020 to support efforts to help poor countries build up their resilience and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Clinton said the majority of these funds would be spent on adaptation and forests in developing countries.
“I am deeply concerned about the consequences for developing countries — from Bangladesh to the Maldives, from the Caribbean to West Africa and the Pacific Islands — if we cannot secure the kind of strong operational accord I’ve described today, we know what the consequences will be for the farmer in Bangladesh or the herder in Africa or the family being battered by hurricanes in Central America,” Clinton said. “Without that accord, there won’t be the kind of joint global action from all of the major economies we all want to see, and the effects in the developing world could be catastrophic. We know what will happen. Rising seas, lost farmland, drought and so much else. Without the accord, the opportunity to mobilize significant resources to assist developing countries with mitigation and adaptation will be lost.”
This is a huge win for Oxfam America as we have been in the lead in pushing the Obama administration to commit to a long-term finance number. We, of course, are only part of the puzzle; developing countries themselves have made this a key issue during the negotiations and our allies have carried the message as well. But we shouldn’t underestimate our role – and that of our supporters — in making this a key issue to unlock the negotiations. This also shows how much the US administration wants to get a strong deal out of Copenhagen.
This is the signal the world needed that the US is willing to step up.
Clinton’s announcement — though lacking some detail about just how much the US would contribute to the $100 billion number, and how much would be generated from public (government funded) and private money, or come from existing aid commitments — seemed to invigorate negotiators.
“Hold tight and mind the doors. The cable car is moving again,” U.N. climate chief Yvo de Boer Boer said moments after Clinton’s announcement, according to a Climatewire story by Lisa Friedman and Darren Samuelsohn.
In our work with developing countries, it has become clear that a US commitment to long-term finance will be key to securing a deal that vulnerable developing countries can agree to. We have been delivering that message to US officials through advocacy and through mobilizing the voices of our constituents. So this is a huge moment for the supporters of Oxfam who have made their voices heard on the human face of climate change. We now have 24 hours to go to secure a deal and move Copenhagen towards a fair and equitable conclusion.